Faculty & Staff Profile
Dr. James Leiman is an executive professional, change agent, professor, mentor and small business owner that has successfully completed several governmental transformation efforts across the United States. Simultaneous to his capacity as the Director of the University of Minnesota Veden Center for Rural Economic Development, James serves as the Director of Economic Development and Finance for the North Dakota Department of Commerce. Prior to joining Commerce in May 2018, James was a City Administrator in Minnesota. Before arriving in the Midwest, James managed a significant transformation portfolio at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in Washington, DC resulting in a 30% reduction in the national claims backlog. As the lead for Integration and Synchronization, James oversaw a $140 million per year program and hundreds of employees which revamped the business process for thousands of employees.
Prior to joining VA, James managed several National Security programs at the Departments of Homeland Security, State and Agriculture where counter terrorism efforts were the focus; areas of operation included the US-Mexico border, the Caribbean and Persian Gulf. James also served in the Army and is a proud veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom where he was recognized for achievement overseas by serving as an Intelligence Analyst and interpreter. After over a decade of fighting terrorism, James sought to use his skills to solve domestic issues.
James has taught undergraduate and graduate courses for the University of Texas at El Paso since 2008, Tulane University since 2011 and Georgian Court University since 2010. In addition, James has taught and lectured at institutions such as Marymount University, New Mexico State University and Kent State. James has been retained since 2011 by the State of New Jersey university system to provide specialized management training and mentorship to Homeland Security, law enforcement and military professionals. Dr. Leiman holds a PhD from the North Dakota State University, James also is the owner of The Maso Group, LLC, a real estate investment firm in North Dakota as well as Enzo’s Mango, a private equity investment firm. James is a proud husband and father and lives in Fargo, ND.